Is Jesus’ betrayal written in the Old Testament?

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By BibleAsk Team


Many Christians believe that the Old Testament contains numerous prophecies that allude to the Jesus’ suffering, including His betrayal. These passages are often interpreted in the New Testament as prophetic references to Christ. Below, we’ll explore several key Old Testament scriptures that are commonly associated with the betrayal of Christ, along with their New Testament fulfillments.

Zechariah’s Prophecy of the Thirty Pieces of Silver

Zechariah 11:12-13:

"Then I said to them, 'If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter'—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter."

This passage from Zechariah is a prophecy concerning the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot. The New Testament draws a direct parallel to this event.

Matthew 26:14-15:

"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver."

Matthew 27:3-10 describes Judas’ remorse and the fulfillment of the prophecy:

"Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' And they said, 'What is that to us? You see to it!' Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, 'It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.' And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.'"

The quotation is chiefly from Zechariah 11:13, with allusions to Jeremiah 18:2–12; 19:1–15; 32:6–9.

Psalm 41 and the Betrayal by a Close Friend

Psalm 41:9:

"Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me."

This verse is interpreted by Christians as a foretelling of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Christ. The Savior Himself refers to this verse in the New Testament.

John 13:18:

"I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.'"

The Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 is often referred to as the “Suffering Servant” passage and is seen as a messianic prophecy concerning the suffering and rejection of Christ, including aspects of His betrayal.

Isaiah 53:3-7:

"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth."

While this passage does not specifically mention betrayal, the themes of rejection and suffering are seen as correlating with the events of Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion. The New Testament writers frequently reference Isaiah 53 to illustrate the Savior’s role as the suffering Messiah.

Matthew 8:17:

"that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'"

The Rejected Stone in Psalm 118

Psalm 118:22:

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

This verse is seen as a metaphor for Christ, who was rejected by His own people, including being betrayed by Judas.

Matthew 21:42:

"Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes"?'"

The Plot Against the Righteous in Psalm 31

Psalm 31:11-13:

"I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life."

These verses describe betrayal and conspiracy against a righteous individual, which Christians interpret as foreshadowing the betrayal and conspiracy against Christ.

The Betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane

While the actual betrayal event is described in the New Testament, it is often seen as the culmination of various Old Testament prophecies.

Matthew 26:47-50:

"And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, 'Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.' Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, 'Friend, why have you come?' Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him."

Summarizing the Old Testament Prophecies

The Old Testament provides various passages pointing to the circumstances of the Messiah’s suffering, rejection, and betrayal. The New Testament writers, particularly the Gospel authors, frequently refer back to these Old Testament scriptures to show that Christ’s life, including His betrayal, fulfilled the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Old Testament, through prophetic texts, is seen by Christians as foretelling the betrayal of Christ. Scriptures such as Zechariah 11:12-13, Psalm 41:9, Isaiah 53, Psalm 118:22, and Psalm 31:11-13 are interpreted as pointing to the events surrounding the Savior’s betrayal by Judas Iscariot. These connections are elucidated in the New Testament, where the authors draw explicit links between the prophecies and their fulfillment in the Savior’s life and ministry.

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